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Thursday, March 15, 2018

Russian-Turkish relations start to improve

Vladimir Putin instructed the government to begin the normalization of relations with Turkey. It concerns the lifting of restrictions in the sphere of tourism and in trade. The instructions were issued after a telephone conversation with Erdogan, who earlier apologized for downed Turkish Russian su-24 and the murder of the pilot Oleg Peshkov. But is public opinion in Russia to such a drastic change?

On Wednesday, President Putin instructed the government to prepare proposals for changing the legal basis for the normalization of relations with Turkey. This assignment came after a telephone conversation with Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“Putin as the leader must reveal his position. This is a question that requires communication not only Erdogan, but also with society”

During the conversation, which lasted 40 minutes, the presidents agreed to take steps to normalize relations between the two countries and agreed on a personal meeting. But first will meet the Ministers of foreign Affairs. This will happen on 1 July in Sochi at the meeting of the black sea economic cooperation. At this meeting will be discussed the situation in the region with a focus on the Syrian settlement, and topical issues of further development of Russian-Turkish relations.

A source in the administration of the Turkish President admits the possibility of a meeting of heads of state during the summit of “Big twenty”, which will be held on 4-5 September in China.

“To turn the crisis page

Telephone conversation Putin and Erdogan became possible after on Monday, the Russian leader got the message of Erdogan, who apologized for the death of the pilot of the Russian su-24 in Syria, and expressed willingness to restore relations with Moscow. Erdogan also agreed to any initiative for “relief of pain and the severity of the damage to the victim’s family of the pilot Oleg Peshkov.

In a press-service of the Kremlin said: “Vladimir Putin noted that the Turkish President’s message has created the preconditions in order to turn the Chapter in bilateral relations and start the process of resumption of joint work on international and regional issues, as well as the development of the whole complex of Russian-Turkish relations”.

In addition, Turkey urgently resumed its case against the alleged murderer of the Russian pilot of Alpaslan Celik (Wednesday, Putin expressed hope that the investigation will be objective). However, Ankara has refused to pay compensation for the downed plane, although previously the Prime Minister of Turkey Binali Yildirim said that Turkey “if necessary” will pay compensation.

The return of tourist flows only after security assurances

As for the normalization of relations between the two countries, in particular, as explained in the Kremlin, Putin instructed the government to remove the restrictions in tourism, trade and other fields. Putin in conversation with Erdogan stated that the Turkish authorities need to take additional steps to ensure the safety of tourists from Russia.

In the Russian Union of travel industry (PCT) explained that the recovery of tourist traffic between countries will be possible only after ensuring the Turkish side guarantees full security of tourists. About it RIA “Novosti” Vice-President of the PCT Yuri Barzykin.

“Good-neighbourly relations as a natural and necessary process. Two interrelated factor and tourist relations, but without a significant reduction in risk and security, there can be no question about the resumption of the tourist flow”, – he added.

Earlier Wednesday, the first Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council Committee on defense and security Frants Klintsevich said that after the terrorist attack at the airport Ataturk in Istanbul to talk about the resumption of the tourist flow is impossible, government may not prohibit independent travel to this country, but tourists should understand the risks.

However, a member of the Federation Council Committee on international Affairs Igor Morozov has not excluded that the number of tourists will be restored this season. “Resolution on the formation of organized tourist trips to really get within 10-14 days. This season, Turkey will be able to receive tourists from Russia”, – he said.

According to him, the case now only for tour operators and Charter companies that organize flights to the Turkish resorts. “You have to watch how quickly they will be able to readjust again to Turkey,” he stressed.

“To be in a state of war is impossible”

First Deputy Chairman of the Duma Committee on international Affairs Leonid Kalashnikov (Communist party) admitted that such a development was expected for him. In restoring these relations, according to him, there is a certain logic. “To be in a state of war is impossible. But how quickly will heal up wounds in the population?” – Kalashnikov told the newspaper VIEW.

The MP stressed that, in General, need to break through the Western blockade, but “at the same time, I’m sure, today it was impossible to talk about the recovery of tourism.” “It became known about the attack. Are we going to send people to the region, where exploding bombs, to establish there a traffic? With Egypt, with whom we have much more friendly relations, Russia does not. And this, of course, I can’t accept”, – said the Deputy.

As for the relations in the spheres of economy, especially if it is beneficial to Russia, “to do it”. “In any case, if Turkey fulfilled the prerequisites, then you can quietly move toward mutually beneficial trade,” – said Kalashnikov.

Normalization of relations will largely depend on Erdogan, from his actions against Syria. “I think Erdogan will be very loyal to do everything, because there is an insurmountable contradiction” – believes the Deputy.

“Putin as the leader must disclose its position”

In turn, the President of the national strategy Institute Mikhail Remizov believes it is important the fact that the incident concerns not only the President, but first and foremost both Nations. The incident with the downed aircraft and killing the pilot was a challenge not only to Putin, but the Russian nation as a whole.

“This does not mean that Putin can’t take decisions on discharge relations under certain conditions. But it means that Putin as the leader must reveal his position. In this sense, it is wrong merely retelling the phone conversation the two leaders. This is a question that requires communication, Putin not only Erdogan, but also with society. There must be some explanation of position on this issue,” – Remizov said the newspaper VIEW.

As for the prospects of restoring relations, according to the analyst, the two contentious factors remain in force. The first is disagreements over Syrian policy. They have not gone away, the situation in the region is acute and intermediate results. The second is a trace in the public opinion of both countries. If for Russians it is primarily the incident with su-24, for the Turks – Russian intervention into the sphere, which they considered a zone of its interests.

However, in the economy there are areas that can be restored without much difficulty. It is primarily the access of Turkish goods to the Russian market. For individual regions, particularly Crimea, which is isolated from many countries, it can be good. Lobbyists for the restoration of relations with Turkey was also Tatarstan, Bashkiria, some republics of the Caucasus.

Remizov agrees that tourism should not expect a quick recovery, because today security is the biggest obstacle than politics. And the second point – there is still a negative public opinion. It also reduces the attractiveness of the country for citizens of Russia”, – said the expert.

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